Hamilton: I was racing a in no-man’s land

Hamilton: I was racing a little bit in no-man's land

Lewis Hamilton is grateful to get third at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, despite racing in no-man’s land for most of the race as George Russell took fourth.

The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion did not have a smooth path towards his third consecutive podium, after crashing in qualifying, which made Mercedes give him a new chassis.

A clash with Pierre Gasly at the start of the Sprint Race meant he barely finished eighth, the last of the point-scoring positions, after a tough fight with Mick Schumacher.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton credited his team for building him a new car, saying: “First, I want to say a big thank you to the women and men in the garage who worked so hard to rebuild the car.

“I needed a brand-new car on Saturday morning, unfortunately. That’s something I don’t do often, but I’m just thankful for how hard everybody worked,” he added.

Hamilton finished the race over 40 second down on the leader, despite having a Virtual Safety car at the end to clear the blazing Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, another factor that helped Hamilton take third.

“It was tough in the Sprint yesterday, but today felt better,” the Briton said. “We had decent pace at different points of the race, even if I was racing a little bit in no-man’s land.

“It’s been a bit of a rough weekend for the team – but I’m grateful we got third and fourth today. That’s great points, and we have improved the car.

“Now we need to keep chipping away to get back to the front,” he concluded.

Russell: I thought the penalty was harsh

George Russell, on the other side of the Mercedes garage, continued his run of finishing within the top five, finishing fourth behind his teammate, despite getting a five-second penalty, for his first lap contact with Sergio Perez.

“I started P4 and finished P4 – and probably would have taken that before the race,” Russell said in Mercedes’s post race media brief.

“But I’m a little disappointed at how everything unfolded,” he added. “On lap one, Checo dived down the outside at Turn Four, then took a tight line.

“I had Sainz ahead and had to get up on the apex kerb. I thought the penalty was harsh – for me it was a racing incident,” the Mercedes driver said of his penalty.

“But after that, we optimised the race well from lap two. Looking at the positives: we had a 20 second pit stop at the start – and finished around 15 seconds behind the podium; I came back through the field from P19 to P4; and we maximised as a team.

“Now we need to get our heads down and keep pushing,” Russell concluded echoing Hamilton’s sentiments.

With Sainz not finishing the race in Spielberg, it now means that Russell is only five points behind the Spaniard on the Drivers’ Championship.